Blantyre-based netball outfit Thunder Queens’ decade-long financial agony finally came to an end yesterday after securing an K11 million season-long sponsorship from Tropical Paints, a subsidiary of OG Group of Companies.
To appreciate the sponsorship, the team’s manager Junier Kazembe said they have now changed the club’s name to Tropical Queens.
Tropical Paints’ manager Salmaan Azizi said they decided to bankroll the team as a way of promoting their products and supporting the sport that put Malawi on the international map.
“Netball has huge following in Malawi and it makes the country proud. Through our partnership, we hope to get our brand to many people while at the same time rescuing the team from financial hiccups,” he said.
However, Azizi, who was accompanied by the company’s marketing manager Elvin Magombo, challenged the team to at least win a trophy at the end of the season to be guaranteed automatic continuation of the financial support.
On her part, Kazembe said they are very grateful to Tropical Paints for the financial backing, saying they had been struggling to run the team due to lack of resources.
“This is a big motivation to us. Without this support, our players could continue missing training due to lack of transport,” she said.
The team’s captain Joana Kachilika, her deputy Thandie Galeta-Saenda and coach Christina Mkwanda-Nsinji said they will do their best to win the league title to make their sponsors happy.
“We will fight to bring the trophy. It has not been an easy road to survive without sponsorship. We managed to take runner-up or third-placed position without sponsorship, we will do better with the support,” she said.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) general secretary Carol Bapu said they are happy that more companies are now realising netball potential in promoting their products.
Despite having no sponsorship for the past 11 years, the club, formerly known as MTL Queens, finished third in the Rainbow Paints Blantyre and Districts Netball League (BDNL) last season and contributes three players, Kachilika, Galeta-Saenda and Martha Dambo to the national netball team.
The club’s coach Mkwanda-Nsinji was also named the best coach during the Malawi Sport Awards which are organised by the Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS).